The Nebraska rifle team closed the 2011-12 campaign by taking third place at the GARC Championships. The Huskers turned in a season-best 4,658 at the GARC Championships to end the season on a high note.
In her final season at Nebraska, Coach Morgan Hicks guided the Huskers to a 10-15-1 record and a 4,611 combined scoring average. NU's roster included five upperclassmen compared to three underclassmen, but it was lone freshman Kelsey Hansen who led the team in combined scoring average at 1,153. The second-best combined scoring average came from junior Janine Dutton at 1,151. Dutton led the team in air rifle with a 586.08 average en route to being named an honorable-mention All-American. Fellow junior Joyce Kim led NU in smallbore with a 573 average.
The Huskers opened the 2011-12 campaign in October with a loss at home to Air Force, 4,602-4,570. Nebraska outscored the Falcons in the smallbore portion of the match, 2,280-2,264, but ultimately lost because of the air rifle margin, which was 52. Sophomore Sunny Russell took home individual medalist honors in smallbore, shooting 573. Dutton shot the best air rifle score for Nebraska, as she would on 12 of 13 occasions. She scored a 579.
NU showed improvement two days later against eventual GARC champion West Virginia, shooting 4,610, but lost to the Mountaineers by 57. Katelyn Woltersdorf led the Huskers in smallbore at 580, while Dutton and Sheena Mahloch tied for the best air rifle score at 584.
The Huskers traveled to Lexington, Ky., for matches against Ole Miss and Kentucky one week later. Nebraska fell victim to both opponents, losing 4,650-4,610 to Ole Miss and 4,669-4,626 to Kentucky. In smallbore, Kim was co-individual champion against the Rebels at 580, while Woltersdorf was individual champion against the Wildcats at 585. In air rifle, Dutton led the Big Red on both occasions, shooting 582 against Ole Miss and 587 against Kentucky.
The Huskers traveled to West Point, N.Y., to open November by facing N.C. State and Army. Nebraska picked up its first victory of the season against the Wolfpack, 4,611-4,564. Hansen took home her first individual championship in smallbore as a Husker, scoring a 580. Dutton shot 584 in air rifle. The pair also led the Huskers in a loss against Army, as Hansen shot 576 in smallbore and Dutton shot 584 in air rifle.
Nebraska returned home to face Ohio State for the final match of the 2011 season. The Buckeyes defeated the Huskers, 4,619-4,605, giving NU a 1-6 record on the season. However, Kim was the individual champion in smallbore at 582. In air rifle, Mahloch turned in the best Husker score at 584.
The 2012 schedule started in Murray, Ky., against Memphis and Murray State. The Tigers outlasted the Huskers, 4,624-4,600, with Hansen leading the team in smallbore and Dutton leading the team in air rifle. The Racers also prevailed against the Huskers, 4,633-4,619. Woltersdorf led in smallbore at 577, while Dutton earned co-individual championship honors in air rifle by shooting 591.
The Huskers stayed in Murray, Ky., for their next competition, which came at the Roger Withrow Invitational. NU tied for second with Jacksonville State at 4,647 in a field that included eight teams. Dutton tied for the individual championship in air rifle, shooting a season-best 593, while Hansen led the team in smallbore, scoring 576.
After nearly three weeks off, Nebraska headed to Fairbanks, Alaska for a match against Jacksonville State. Hansen and Dutton led the Huskers again in smallbore and air rifle, respectively, but NU lost, 4,648-4,594. The loss put the Huskers at 6-11-1 on the season.
Nebraska remained in Fairbanks for the NCAA Qualifiers two days later against Alaska-Fairbanks and Jacksonville State. The Huskers finished third at 4,596, shooting 2,271 in smallbore and 2,325 in air rifle. Kim led NU in smallbore at 571, while Dutton earned the co-individual championship at 589.
At the GARC Championships a week later in Oxford, Miss., the Huskers finished third among seven, shooting a season-best 4,658. Nebraska's effort was led by Woltersdorf's career-high of 586 in smallbore. She finished sixth. Meanwhile, in air rifle, Dutton finished third, tying her season high of 593. She had the seventh-highest combined score at the GARC Championships with her 1,170 total.
Throughout the course of the season, eight shooters won individual titles while Hansen claimed the only combined title for the Huskers. In smallbore, Kim took home two titles, while Russell, Woltersdorf and Hansen each added one. In air rifle, Dutton earned three individual titles.
At the conclusion of the season, Dutton was named an honorable-mention All-American for air rifle. In addition to her success in competition, the team also achieved success in the classroom. Four shooters; Kim, Mahloch, Woltersdorf and Russell were named to the spring 2012 Academic All-Big Ten team. Mahloch graduated in May, earning a degree in criminology and criminal justice.